Sara Clark is an EYT 500-hour certified Vinyasa yoga and mindfulness teacher, lululemon Global Yoga Ambassador, model, and writer.
Nick Blackmer is a librarian, fact checker, and researcher with more than 20 years’ experience in consumer-oriented health and wellness content.
Yoga is a form of exercise that incorporates mental and spiritual practices into physical movement. It consists of different asanas or yoga poses — standing or on the ground — that flow into one another. Practicing yoga can help you relax, build strength, and improve flexibility.
Whether you're a beginner or a pro, learn about various types of yoga and how to get the most out of your time on the mat.
You should clean your yoga mat on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. To do so, clean the yoga mat with soap and water. You can use a microfiber towel dipped in soapy water followed by a clean towel to wipe away the soapy residue.
Those who love and excel at yoga often want to become instructors themselves. Becoming a yoga instructor requires certification. You can become a certified yoga instructor by enrolling in a school that follows the Yoga Alliance Standards.
Hot yoga involves yoga classes performed in humid studios heated from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot yoga classes tend to be flowing, Vinyasa-style classes. One exception is Bikram, a type of hot yoga that follows a specific 26-pose format in each 90-minute class.
Hatha yoga is a gentle and slow-paced style of yoga. If you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics of yoga, Hatha is a good place to start.
Vinyasa yoga is a broad classification that encompasses many types of yoga, including Ashtanga, Baptiste, and power yoga. It is a rigorous practice that involves sun salutations, which pair movements to breathwork. If you’re looking for a type of yoga where the poses flow into one another and classes do not follow a set sequence of poses, vinyasa is the style you’re looking for.
When you perform exercises or yoga poses, you will experience a range of motion in your joints. This is known as flexibility, and it comes in handy in daily life and exercise. Yoga can help you become more flexible, but flexibility is not a requirement to start doing yoga.
Balance is the practice of evenly distributing your body weight. Having good balance is helpful to perform many yoga poses. Doing yoga regularly can also improve your balance outside of the studio.
Ujjayi breath, also known as ocean breath, is a breathing technique sometimes used in yoga. It involves long, deep inhales and exhales focused on the back of the throat. Once you learn the technique, you can incorporate it into your yoga practice.
The meaning of om dates back to the ancient practices of Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s a Sanskrit word with many meanings. In yoga, it’s often used as a mantra or to signal the beginning and end of a yoga session.
Downward dog, or Downdog, is a classic yoga pose. Known in Sanskrit as Adho Mukha Svanasana, this is often one of the very first yoga poses new yogis learn. It is a transitional and resting pose in the Sun Salutation sequence that targets the upper body, lower body, and core.
Child's Pose (or Balasana) is a gentle, resting posture that stretches the back, hips, thighs, and ankles.
Maharara S, Sabar N. The concept of 'OM': (with special reference to Chāndogya Upaniṣad). Int J Sanskrit Res. 2020;6(3):4-9.
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